Safety climate, worker health and organizational health performance: Testing a physical, psychosocial and combined pathway

Babette Bronkhorst (Department of Public Administration and Sociology, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Brenda Vermeeren (Department of Public Administration and Sociology, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Publication date: 12 September 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between organizational safety climate and organizational health performance outcomes (i.e. absenteeism, presenteeism, health care utilization) mediated by individual worker health. The authors used three pathways to examine this relationship: a physical pathway starting with physical safety climate and mediated by musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), a psychosocial pathway starting with psychosocial safety climate and mediated by emotional exhaustion, and a combined pathway starting with psychosocial safety climate and mediated by both MSDs and emotional exhaustion.

Design/methodology/approach

Three mediational multilevel analyses were conducted using a sample of 8,761 employees working in 177 health care organizations.

Findings

Although the findings did not support the hypothesized physical pathway, they showed that the psychosocial pathway worked satisfactorily for two of the three health performance outcomes (absenteeism and presenteeism). The combined physical and psychosocial pathway explained differences in the third outcome: health care utilization.

Originality/value

This is one of the few studies to include both physical and psychosocial pathways that lead to employee health and organizational performance. The results underscore the importance of paying attention to psychological health and safety in the health care workplace. Not only for the psychological health of employees, but also to improve their physical health and subsequent organizational health performance.

Keywords

Citation

Bronkhorst, B. and Vermeeren, B. (2016), "Safety climate, worker health and organizational health performance: Testing a physical, psychosocial and combined pathway", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 270-289. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWHM-12-2015-0081

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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